tv Preet Bharara Discusses Corporate Governance and Insider Trading CSPAN November 20, 2016 11:55am-12:18pm EST
from the regulations we have, in this place we don't lie, we don't cheat, we don't steal. if you do, you're out. those things make a difference. i asked at a meeting, where a company you may have heard of was pleading for leniency. question, could you give me an example. person after person had been indicted and convicted of the company. can you give me an example of one time the ceo of the company in an e-mail, a speech, a phone i carence said that, that people do their jobs honestly and with integrity? there was deafening silence. i care that people do their jobs honestly and withthat tells youd it's not a shock to me that the culture at that place was terrible. rebecca: was this at vc capital?
preet: it could be. i worried are you about corruption within your company? very concerned? not at all? what is the importance in a company of general counsel? do you look to someone to be a true to power presence? what is the importance in a preet: it depends on the nature of the industry and the company. the general counsel is the conscience of the firm, but if the conscience of the firm doesn't have juice or power or people, itm the won't matter very much. in the indictment against scc capital, we allege that one of the things that went wrong was they were planning to hire a guy who was suspected of being
someone who engaged in insider trading at the prior firm. office,ral counsel's the hedge fund, oppose the hiring of the person. it's not shocking the shortly thereafter that person began to engage it insider trading. i think people need to have good counsel, generally speaking. i think the person -- i'm sure this is true when you think about the cfo you have been other people in positions counseling you, not just in the law in compliance, but on other kinds of risk and competition and finances. i think generally leadership involves surrounding yourself with people who can talk to you like a peer does, and that's true especially of general counsel. rebecca: what is your impression
of the results from this polling? is 30% in denial? preet: the 9% who are very worried, if you could come see me afterwards, leave your number . i don't knew the not at all people are. they're saying you would vote not at all, even if you didn't think it was a problem, because often people hedge. you can't always know. if that's what your view is, it must mean reputation only you are doing something correct because it does turn out to be often the case in my experience that when we investigate people and certain companies, sometimes there's a lot of surprise and sometimes there's no surprise at all. in the instances where we try somebody and there was no prize ,t all -- the galleon group
there's not a lot of surprise that there was a lot of bad .onduct going on there there's more surprise when we arrested roger gupta who had a different reputation. i'm assuming the people around him at the time would have answered the question, what you think is corruption or misconduct involving the head of mckinsey, there might've been a good percentage of people who had said not at all. preet: you faced some criticism for in a sense of a reaching on some of the insider trading cases. and also a sense of prosecuting some of them in the media. preet: the vast majority of insider trading cases have resulted in convictions. it's a small subset of cases
that we argued that the appeals court in new york change the law and got wrong. this now i case pending in front of the supreme court out of the ninth circuit of the california appellate court. i was at the supreme court argument which isfan, necessarily of aggressive prosecution, if you think of the decision from virginia, there is cautious optimism that the supreme court is going to correct what we think was a clear mistake of the second circuit on insider trading. rebecca: so they will actually reverse it, and what would happen to those cases? mr. bharara: there is cautious optimism that would happen. based on the question you never , know. rebecca: the current supreme court? mr. bharara: the current supreme court. that is the sense one got. i'm not prejudging it, i'm not making a prediction, and i'm not waging money on it, but there was clearly a deep sense of concern based on the questions that you heard from the lawyers at the supreme court arguments that it did not seem to be right
or reasonable that you could be, for example, the ceo of a company and if you are not expecting any concrete financial gain in return, some financial benefit in return, you could, three days before releasing your earnings, bequeath it as a gift on your son, daughter, college roommate, knowing that they will make $20 million to $30 million in the trade. that did not strike people as being prudent. rebecca: what about trying cases in the press? mr. bharara: we don't do that. i think it is important in my job to talk about problems that you see. obviously the first , responsibility is to make sure that anybody you charge gets a fair trial. i have never spoken anywhere outside of the four corners of the complaint or the indictment. but when you have a state of problems, for example, if you have a gang problem in newburgh, new york, which we have had, i talk about it. when you have a prescription
pill problem that is killing more people than traffic accidents and guns these days, and more people are od'ing for prescription pills and dying than from cocaine and heroin combined, then you talk about that problem. when you have assemblymen and senators in my home state in new york going to prison at an alarming rate, you talk about the problem. it is also the job to raise public awareness when you have a public health problem or corruption problem. that's what i do. i talk about it. presumably i get invited to speak to prestigious groups like this and wall street traders, but also doctors and business students, because people have some interest in knowing how we think about prosecution, what we think the problems are, and how the good people can help solve those problems. i speak it every business school around, and i've been doing it for a number of years, and i am particularly proud that i got a
harvard business school, and every february i speak to the entire first year class, and i talk about insider trading, but then i talk more broadly about ethics, integrity, and how they should think about conducting themselves to avoid problems. i say, look, i'm here. it's not just a scared straight program for white-collar people, although it's a little bit of that. and i'm not just directing the words to the ears of the two or three of you at harvard business school who, statistically speaking, are likely to commit securities fraud. although i know who you are. it's more, to direct my words to the ears of the vast majority of people, perhaps even everyone, who have integrity, who are honest, who want to do the right thing, who wants to make money, or change the world in some way in a correct way, an upstanding way, and the problem is, getting to my basic point that i like to make in front of groups like this, is the dead people in your
-- bad people in your organizations, other people tend to know about them. it was not a surprise when we started arresting people at fcc capital, the people in the know. it was not a surprise at the galleon group very at it was not a surprise what was going on at madoff. if leaders of organizations can figure out a way to put the right team together and can develop the right culture. you can nab these problems much earlier than when the fbi gets involved. when the fbi gets involved, it's generally too late for you. questionyour favorite is there a role for you in the , trump administration? counting on your current role? mr. bharara: i was going to put in for secretary of state, but some guy beat me to it. [laughter] rebecca: that might be taken. but seriously, your interests, could they be aligned? mr. bharara: i do my job, i love my job. it's the best job i've ever had and the best job i will ever
have. i serve under the president. that was true with president obama and will be true under president trump. if and when the president decides to replace me, i will ride into the sunset. but, i think the work of the office is separate, apart from me. we have been around since 1789. you know the office itself is an , apolitical office. i said this to my office last week. i do not get paid to serve the president. i get paid to serve the public. and when i think is best in the interest of justice, no matter who the president is. that is what we do in our office. as for the kind of work we have been doing, which is the very aggressive policing of many kinds of things, including albany and wall street, it seems to me that part of the election on both sides was about whether systems are rigged. and i can tell you from cases that we have brought, there is a lot that is rigged on the street and in politics.
and the people in my office, they spend day after day doing those kinds of cases i like to think that the level of aggressiveness in law enforcement will remain the same. when you talk about things like keeping the markets fair and keeping government honest, i don't foresee any departure from that unless i am missing something big. rebecca: you don't see anything dangerous in prosecutions? mr. bharara: i'm not saying that will not happen. the way we conduct ourselves in our office has always been a political. facts, and youe go after the targets are, no matter how much money they have, who they are connected to, and i think we have a strong bipartisan record of going after folks who have violated their oaths of office. apart from the financial prosecutions, one of the other things that gets a lot of attention is our public
corruption prosecutions. we simultaneously charged, prosecuted, and convicted both the senate majority leader, who is a republican, and the assembly speaker, who is a democrat. we are blind as to what party people are from. >> we have a couple of minutes for questions. anybody in the 9% from the chart want to speak up? right here. >> do we have to give our name and company? >> yes, you do. mr. bharara: i know who you are. i have your last five years of tax returns. >> pree, when you started, you talked about the ceo of your organization and how tone at the top matters, but it is also metrics, what you measure. sometimes if there are too much sales, you get activity you don't like. i-8, too, was a regulator in the treasury and i know how you measure people in government. sometimes you are charged on how much money and finds you get, but really your job is to bring trust and confidence the capital
markets, not just how much you prosecute. how do you balance that message yourself, to your people, not just going out and saying bring as many as you can, but rather putting confidence in the results? not how much revenue you can bring in? mr. bharara: that's a great question, and it's very difficult, because we don't make wages, and you have to be careful about metrics. i talk about it all the time. i do a state of the office presentation and talk about things. some of what i do there is talk about what the number of trials has been, what the level of criminal fines have been, and how many convictions we have had in particular areas. but then i caution them and say, look, i'm putting up some of these metrics, but no metric can measure how we are doing if you are in the business of doing something that is supposed to be pure justice. , also, you absolutely have this problem. if you start having quotas on how we want people to perform,
then people are going to game the system in a way to give you what you want. the police commissioner used to talk about this all the time. if you start saying there has to be a certain number of arrests in every precinct, you are going to start manufacturing things. so i don't have a great answer to that other than to talk a lot about how we care about how we do things in the office, to not have an overemphasis on numbers. what i do say is, if in one year we had 100 public corruption prosecutions and the next year we had 30, well, then you've got to look at that and see what went wrong. or one year you had 20, the next year you had 30, look at general trends. the one thing i do like to say sometimes when people try to take away our budget is that there are some parts of government that work really well. my budget for my office is $50 million. depending on the year, between
asset forfeiture and criminal penalties and losses avoided, we bring in 50 two 60 to 80 times that, better than any hedge fund i have ever heard of. >> one more question? >> i have one. >> right here. >> i want to know if you watch "billions." [laughter] mr. bharara: that is a highly fictionalized show in many ways. but i think paul giamatti is a great actor. so one last question for me. , >> we have had waves of insider trading prosecutions in the 1990's, and recently. are we getting better and -- at corporate governance in general over the last 20 or 30 years? has a lot of our concern been shown? are we any better, or are we not? mr. bharara: that's a really broad question. are we getting better generally?
history seems to teach that people get better at one thing, and bad people figure out how to screw it up in some other way. what i understand anecdotally that some of what our cases have done and what some of the regulatory actions have done have not necessarily eradicated bad people from places, but i think it has gotten companies to look at their fellow folks in the same industry, banks or otherwise, and say, there but for the grace of god go i, so what can i do to make sure that does not happen here? how do we have better screening? how do we have better early warning systems to see people engaging in bad conduct? our sense of things, based on the events i go to, people have gotten better. for example, we have this issue with expert networks will be -- when we started bringing in first these insider-trading cases. i think people's use of expert networks and what they meant has gotten better.
that does not mean that other people are not figuring out ways to undermine the system and do bad things. i don't know if i can proclaim that everything is better, but i do think that a lot of folks have done a better job of trying to get on the ball. >> thank you very much. [applause] rebecca: thank you. >> monday night on the communicators, former sec communicator on how it could change under the trump administration and a look at the issues they could be facing. we will start to tackle what is the future of the internet. net neutrality, what does it mean. artificial intelligence, what does it mean for jobs. what about consolidation? >> what plans can we use for business services?
or where there wasn't any sort of -- from the democrats, it will not get off the ground. 8:00tch the communicators, eastern. the presidential transition process continues today as president elect trump holds meetings in new jersey. yesterday, he met for more than an hour with former massachusetts governor and 2012 republican residential nominee mitt romney. he is being mentioned as a possible choice for secretary of state. he also welcomed a retired general being considered reportedly for defense secretary. on the sunday talk shows this morning we heard from vice president-elect mike pence and rnc chair and incoming chief of staff reince priebus about the transition. these meetings were included yesterday. >> while some in the national
media were wringing their hands this week, we've been working to move thisrs transition forward. i am honored to be serving as -- chair of it i do have someone with a legendary military career to talk to him about the challenges facing america and our national security. and i can tell you that the president-elect was very grateful. governor mitt romney came in and i had a good meeting with a warm and substantive exchange i know he is under active consideration to be secretary of state for the united states as well as some other very distinguished americans. >> one great thing about romney. any talk about the terrible things that set about each other? togethernt an hour with the team. the president and i on one side of the table.
and the other side with governor romney. we talked about issues. that some private time together, and you can ask either one of them what they talked about. look, these are two people who are the party nomination. one was successful, and one a mandate from the american people earlier this month to make america great again. the other one worked hard to do that for years ago. i can report to you that it was a cordial meeting, but it was a very substantive conversation. the president-elect was very grateful that it run again to from national and spent some time and will be considered for this important role at this important time. it is it entire picture here, i think americans can take from this is that we have a president-elect who wants to bring all americans together. he started with that speech he wednesday morning, very graciously saying, in a matter who you are, no matter what your background is, i will be here for you, make you proud of our
country. likemitt romney, people that, obviously, ted cruz coming in, it is considering this bridge building that all americans should take in, he wants to bring us all together. the meeting with mitt romney it was a can tell you very good meeting, very gracious and personal am very warm and sincere and reductive. we do not guess productive. we do not know where it will lead, but i can tell you it was a great first step and you should be proud of the way things are going here with president-elect trump's operation. >> would it surprise you if he nominated mitt romney for secretary of state? >> i do not know who he will select. general, mitt romney, we will see where it goes area -- goes. >> more meetings this week in new jersey with president-elect
giuliani,luding rudy chris christie, and representative mcmorris rodgers. we'll keep you updated throughout the day. >> follow the transition of government on c-span at donald trump becomes the 45th resident of the united states. republicans maintain control of the u.s. house and senate. events asing your key they happen without interruption. watch live on c-span. c-span.org. at >> welcome. we have a special webpage at c-span.org to help you follow the supreme court. select-span.org, and supreme court. o